The Trumpiad: Book 1—Canto 6

June 2017


June is upon us, and we’re six months in.
Each day brings more alarm and conflagration.
Each month I find it harder to begin
My task without dread and exasperation.
Yet, pace Dowd, De Sade, and James Baldwin,
A blanket character assassination
Does not come easily to me. And why?
Because we’re both born under Gemini.


Now I know what you’re thinking: that it’s crazy
To think astrology can hold the key
To understanding how he ticks—a lazy,
Reductive stand-in for psychiatry
That lacks a scientific structure for the ways he
Determines his reality to be.
But my aim is not psychotherapeutic,
But mythopoetic and hermeneutic.


We Geminis are ruled by Mercury,
Quicksilver god of messages and trade.
A puckish trickster, always moving, he
Can talk his way out of an escapade,
Employ seduction to the nth degree,
And wave his hands like weapons to persuade
You into thinking that it would be great
To hand him moolah or go on a date. 


Unfettered by the need to say what’s true,
Ungrounded by responsibility,
We Geminis love searching for what’s new—
New friends, new baubles, new places to be
Where all the action is. However, through
Legerdemain or glib aside, we flee
When we feel that we are constrained or bored,
Or even worse, belittled or ignored.


All light and air, we have no shadow side:
Commercial skill is also greed for money.
We can sell anything, and we’re both snide
And blithe; we’re quick, we’re cruel, and we’re funny.
God of transitions, Mercury can slide
From one mood to the next: one moment sunny,
The next a pouting child. We’re in the know,
But, if you ask “about what?” we must go! 


Like Dug the cartoon dog in Up! we’re swayed
By any passing fad or observation.
(Squirrel!) We are good-naturedly waylaid
By surface shininess, improvisation,
And gossip. Anything that is too staid
Or needs a molecule of concentration
Can make us want to run or raise our guard:
We do not like what’s complex or what’s hard. 


In spite of all these traits that are alarming
It’s hard for us always to be malicious.
We’re much more comfortable being charming.
We don’t like direct conflict; we’re ambitious
First, to seal the deal by disarming,
And, second, make the buyer like us. Vicious
Retorts and personal attacks come later,
Should we fail to wow as an instigator.


Therefore, my (tepid) rancor might be due
To that I see myself in him. How much
We crave the spotlight . . . only for the view:
Pretending that we have the common touch,
We fear that we’ll be judged a parvenu
And not up to the task. So, as a crutch
We bluster that of course we have a plan, sir!
(As long as we can make it through the stanza.)


That said, I’d like to hope I’d shun extortion,
Restrain myself from speaking off the cuff.
I’d want my staff to keep things in proportion
And say when I’ve done or not done enough.
I think I’d know to delegate, for sure shun
Contempt and defamation, take the rough
And smooth as equal parts of holding power,
And not measure achievement by the hour. 


I trust I’d want to know the truth from lies,
And that I’d not be frightened of dissent.
I hope I’d face my faults and not disguise
The danger facing any president
Of only seeking good news or the highs
And pomp of office. I would not prevent
A range of views from being aired before me,
And I would not ask people to adore me. 


I’ll never be the Commander in Chief
And so can tell myself I’d have a heart
And would behave. It comes as some relief
That Taurus is ascendant in my chart,
Which gives me discipline. But that bold thief,
Light-fingered Hermes, can outdo, outsmart
All those who’d tie him down. And don’t expect
Him to be cool, serene, or circumspect. 


The restlessness of Mercury’s a blessing:
If ousted, he will find someone to blame
And move on to the next thing. No point stressing
Disgrace to Hermes, for he has no shame.
In fact, he might already (I am guessing)
Be formulating a sly plan to game
Washington, DC so he can exact
The maximal revenge for being sacked.


All things considered, I have thus concluded
It’s not a superhero that we need.
To pine for an immortal is deluded,
A vanity despair and weakness feed;
A wish the idle and the hope-denuded
Use to avoid the worry they’ll succeed
If they rose up and fought for recognition:
The comfort of unnoticed opposition.                                         


The paradox is that this fake and fraud
Pretends to speak the “truth” of discontent.
Those who believe they’ve been ignored applaud
Someone they wanted to smash all consent
And take their country back. This sham and bawd,
Who only cares about himself, was meant
To be the people’s tribune and to fight
So they’d receive what they thought theirs by right.


O double treachery! The boob and pill
Is too incompetent for his agenda:
He has no understanding of the Hill
And each day he blurts out random addenda,
Errors, tirades, redactions that will kill
All legislation. Each speech in the blender
Makes an already hard job even tougher,
As well as those who voted for him suffer.


The second insult: what he’s getting done
Does nothing for his base. The health-care plan
That passed the House (no matter how it’s spun)
Will hurt the poor and old. Yet, this conman
Told folks his plan would be the best, bar none:
For whom?’s the question. How a person can
So wantonly mislead those who believed
Is shocking even to me, the undeceived.


The Muslim ban won’t stop one terrorist;
The tax plan will not help the middle-class.
The budget ends the programs that assist
The hard-hit regions, jobless, and the mass
Of people in the red states, who have kissed
Their welfare net goodbye. A coup de grâce
Will surely come when, sometime in the fall,
He tells them that he will not build the Wall. 


Thus, more supporters will become addicted,
And, due to Sessions, spend more time in jail.
The infrastructure bill, which was depicted
As quasi-multi-partisan, will fail
Because he doesn’t care for the afflicted
Who need jobs, hope, and luck. So he will bail
On the few promises he’s not discarded
To fantasize that he’s still well-regarded.


We do not need a Storm or Wolverine:
What we demand is one Republican
Or ten to say, “He can no more demean
The office of the president. This man
Is not up to the task, and the obscene
Series of follies that define the span
Of his administration must be ended.
He can no longer by us be defended.”


I don’t expect McConnell, Cornyn, Cruz,
Paul Ryan, or all the GOP hacks
To stand up and be counted. They refuse
To get a spine or stiffen their bent backs.
As long as they think they have more to lose
By ditching him, they’ll not bring down the ax.
These profiles of gutless hypocrisy
Won’t move until it’s risk- and conscience-free.


But I assume you’re not like them, Ben Sasse.
I hear they walk tall in Plainview, Nebraska.
I like to think you’re in a different class
From all the other cheap-jacks. It’s a task a
Straightshooter from the heartland could amass
Thanks of a grateful nation for: unmask a
Disreputable charlatan, and teach him
A lesson he won’t soon forget. Impeach him!


What hope that Lindsey Graham, John McCain,
And Pat Toomey will all exclaim, “Enough!”?
What more is needed, Sen. Collins of Maine,
To show that you are made of sterner stuff?
Lisa Murkowski surely can’t maintain
Her silence. And what happened to the bluff
Bob Corker or John Thune of South Dakota?
I can’t believe you don’t care one iota.


Leaving aside each crime and misdemeanor,
Endangering the sources and intel;
Ignoring that he makes Anthony Weiner
Look cherubic; and avoiding, as well,
How he and his clan couldn’t be obscener
In all their pricy pleasures, what the hell
Do you believe should be the repercussions
Of being so damn cozy with the Russians? 


But who is this who’s coming to the rescue?
A grey-haired white dude, name of Robert Mueller.
The FBI guy will weed out the fescue
And flush the bushes to find if our ruler
Is innocent, a Nicolae Ceausescu,
Or simply just a grown-up Ferris Bueller
Who can’t hack working. With deliberation,
We hope Bob saves us from disintegration. 


I trust Mueller will take his time (a friend),
For Mercury hates pressure. He’s already
Tweeting his outrage, umbrage that won’t end
Even outside the White House. But the steady
Drip, drip of revelations might impend
His losing all control. Then, young Jared—he
Will advocate to him his precious brand
Will tank should he continue this last stand.


At that point, he’ll claim the system’s corrupt,
That Washington was always out to get him.
He’ll rail that all the politicians sucked
And that he hated everyone who met him.
He’ll state without his leadership we’re fucked
And we’ll be sorry that we have upset him.
Licking his wounds, he’ll retreat to his Tower
Like Sauron, and wait to restore his power.


I hope they throw the book at him, I do.
I hope they toss his helmet, clip his heels,
And force him to confess and grovel, too.
I hope they probe his actions till he squeals
So he can know what he has put us through,
And recognize what each one of us feels.
I hope all those who voted for him see
How bad he was, is, and will always be.


Yet, knowing him and us, he’ll find a way
To avoid more than a mild slap on the wrist.
For he’s America—Live for the day!
Give him another chance! Let’s co-exist!—
Or, at the least, the rich, white man’s cachet
Allows him to walk off into the mist
With millions in his termination packet
That lets him finance yet another racket.


So Hermes laughs again—the kid takes flight:
Spreading his rumors, throwing cash around,
And joining A and B with C. Delight
Aerates his freedom, animates each bound.
Wired all day and sleepless through the night,
He makes sure his feet never touch the ground:
The Peter Pan of endless broken vows,
The boy who stole Apollo’s sacred cows.


More seriously, what shall we conclude
About these disunited states we live in:
That we allowed someone plainly unglued
To be the leader? Will we be forgiven
By those who follow us and whom we’ve screwed?
To whom will our souls turn to be shriven
When we’re confronted in the coming years
With blood and sweat and toil and seas of tears?

About martinrowe

I am the co-founder and publisher at Lantern Books, and the author, editor, and ghostwriter of several works of fiction and non-fiction. I live in Brooklyn, New York.
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